Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, an obligate gram-negative intracellular bacterium. Cattle, sheep, and goats are the primary reservoirs which were infected. Transmission to humans occurs primarily through inhalation of aerosols from contaminated soil or animal waste. Other modes of transmission include tick bites, ingestion of unpasteurized milk or dairy products, and human-to-human transmission etc.
Isolation and decontamination with standard precautions are recommended for healthcare workers because person-to-person transmission is rare. Decontamination is accomplished with soap and water or after a 30-minute contact time with 5% quaternary ammonium compound , 5% hydrogen peroxide, or 70% ethyl alcohol. Treatment with tetracycline during the incubation period may delay but not prevent the onset of symptoms.
To assess Q fever in France, we analyzed data for 1985–2009 from the French National Reference Center. A total of 179,794 serum samples were analyzed; 3,723 patients (one third female patients) had acute Q fever. Yearly distribution of acute Q fever showed a continuous increase. Periodic variations were observed in monthly distribution during January 2000–December 2009; cases peaked during April–September.